How to build a website for beginners

Building a website used to be the exclusive domain of computer programmers. Thanks to advances in ready to use platforms and templates and wysiwyg (what you see is what you get) editors, this is no longer the case. Anyone can build a website, even with no prior knowledge or experience. It's just a matter of learning how and taking action with what you've learned.

This article is geared towards people who intend to use their website to sell products–affiliate products in particular. However the basic instructions are adaptable for building a simple website for any purpose. It is important to keep the goal of the website in mind throughout the entire process of building and maintaining the site.

How to build a website for beginners starts with the domain

You can think of the domain name as the street address to your home. It's a number that tells people where your home (website) is located.

Your domain name should be relevant to the subjects you want to cover on your site or the industry or niche you wish to market to. For example, if you wanted to build a website about alternative currencies, such as cryptocurrencies, you could call your domain “alternativecurrencies” or “cryptocurrencies.” If you wanted your site to be all about Devcoins, you could name your domain around the word “Devcoin.” However, if you also wanted to talk about Bitcoins on your site, then using the word “Devcoin” might be too narrow, in which case you'd want to go with something broader like “cryptocurrencies.”

Avoid naming your domain after a specific product because that will limit you down the road, not to mention it could bring up trademark infringement issues. When choosing a domain name, have several name possibilities in mind as some of your ideas may already be taken when you attempt to register.

A domain will usually begin with “www.” and end with a suffix such as “.com” or “.org” but there are many other suffixes available.

Many hosting companies also allow you to register your domain which means you can get your domain and hosting (see below for more information on hosting) in one transaction.

Hosting: Where a website lives

The next component to a website is the hosting. The hosting is like the home for your website.

Hosting used to be more expensive and limited than it is now. Most reputable hosting companies now offer unlimited hosting. This means that you are given unlimited space and can host as many websites as you want. A hosting account typically costs less than $100 a year, often less. If that is prohibitive, then free web space can be obtained on sites such as Wordpress and Blogger, but many people find it well worth it to go ahead and purchase a domain and hosting account they completely own.

If you have purchased your domain and hosting account together, your domain is all set and you can skip the next step.

If you registered your domain and purchased hosting separately, you will need to point the domain to the hosting company. You do this by setting the domain name servers (DNS) from the hosting company to the domain. For example, if you bought a domain from 1and1 and hosting from JustHost, you will enter the DNS from JustHost into the domain management form with 1and1. You can simplify the entire process by buying both your domain and hosting from the same company.

Next is your content management system

There are a couple ways to add the actual content and graphics to your website. One is to design the pages then load them onto your site using FTP. An even easier way is to manage all the content using a content management system. The easiest open source content management system for website development is WordPress.

Install WordPress following the instructions from your hosting company. WordPress will walk you through selecting your basic design. Once you have WordPress installed, adding content is easy.

Once you have WordPress up and running, you will want to install four plugins to help you manage your site. They are Akismet, All In One SEO Pack, Exclude pages, and Google Analytics. Go to each plugin's site, then follow the instructions for installing and activating them on your WordPress site.

Start creating content

WordPress allows you to create blog posts and static pages. You just need to choose which one you are creating.

Start your site by creating five static pages: home, about me, FAQ, a page for your main product you're promoting, and blog. You set the page where the posts will be kept in the “reading” tab under “settings” in your dashboard.

Your home page should be a welcoming and chatty page about your site and the subject matter you will be covering. Your About Me page should be about you. Include a picture of yourself, and some of your qualifications for speaking authoritatively about your subject matter. Also include some fun facts to help your visitors relate to you as a real human being–a face behind the website. Your FAQ page should contain some questions you either have been asked or expect to be asked along with answers. Your product review page should talk up the main product you are promoting (you can have more than one product review page). You want to provide solid information about your product, a call to action (either to buy your product or fill out a form for future follow up), and there should be plenty of links to your product's website.

When writing content, don't worry about getting it perfect. You can change it at any time. Just keep it honest and real.

Once you have set up your website and created the main content pages, you have finished the first part. You now have your very own website up.

Your work is only beginning, though. Your next focus will be on creating landing pages targeting relevant keywords and generating traffic to those landing pages. Please read my article How to Get Free Traffic to get you started.


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